Luke 14:26-27 AMP
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters–[yes] and even his own life also–he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.
Most of us look at this passage in wonder, maybe in amazement. I thought that Jesus was all about love. I thought that we are supposed to love one another. Now I’m being told to hate people?
But we have to look at it in context. This passage is talking about discipleship. It is talking about our lives becoming more intoxicated with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19), as He becomes greater and we become less(John 3:30), and as we persevere the distractions and temptations and trials that stands between us persevering and carrying our cross and following Him(Luke 9:23, Matthew 10:38). We are each called to be disciples, and we each have a mission and a purpose.
Matthew 10 lets us know that in this spiritual battle, even those closest to us will be used and influenced by the enemy to get in the way of the work that the Lord has planned for us, for us to acknowledge Him publicly –
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
Matthew 10:32-36 NLT
So when even someone that we love gets in the way of the Lord’s work and prose for our lives, to give Him praise, to serve Him faithfully – we have to understand that there are things in their lives not yet surrendered, there is sin not yet swept out of the temple, they’re are strongholds in their lives that are allowing the enemy to influence and use them against us(Ephesians 6:12). So we don’t hate them with anger. We might hate how the enemy is able to influence them and use them as a stumbling block, we might even respond with a bold rebuke(Proverbs 17:11).
But it is not because we do not love them. If the hate is not in love, then it is not righteous, it is not Godly, it is not just, and it is not from the, Holy Spirit and it doesn’t serve God.
Let me say that once again. If the hate is not in love, it does not serve God. (Romans 12:19)
Even though we are to be peacemakers(Matthew 5:9), there are times where there is clear opposition and rebellion and a lack of yielding to God’s will. At times there is clear absence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in someone’s life and instead of joy, patience, and love – there is hostility, quarreling, dissention and division, evidence of the very things that the Word of God tells us “will not inherit the, Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
And when we encounter this type of spirit influencing our loved ones, when we see the evidence of something the, Lord says is “unto death”, that “will not inherit” (1 John 5:16) – shouldn’t we care enough to give warning (Ezekiel 3:18-21)?
You see, our loved ones will probably receive it as hateful, as judgemental, as abandoning them when we choose God’s will and purpose for our lives over them. Part of this is because those closest to us have the hardest time seeing past or many faults to the Christ alive and shining in our lives.
When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:53-58 NLT
If those closest to Jesus denied Him, can’t we expect similar doubt and unbelief from those closest to us? Can’t we expect opposition and persecution and war within our own households and families? Doesn’t He tell us to expect the world to hate us (John 15:18-25) and oppose us?
Christ is not telling us to hate them the way that men hate in anger – He is telling us to hate them in love – to love Him so much, that our love for ourselves and for others is low in comparison. This is so that if they are in opposition to His will and purpose that we will be able to stand bold and confident in His Word, keeping Him first in our lives.
We are to remain in the true vine (John 15:1-17) and realize how love can cover even hate when it is centered upon the will of God (1 Peter 4:8). If we speak boldly out of love, it is loving – but if we speak proudly wanting to prove we are right, we are in error and sin ourselves(Proverbs 6:16-19).
It is truly a narrow path.
Love boldly, even if that means hate, because there is no middle ground in this battle.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
John 3:3 NLT
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ”
John 3:3, 18-21 NLT
Are we more concerned with doing what God wants, or with what we want? Are we only comfortable with the idea of God as long as we can keep Him locked away, and under our control, and separated from those areas of our lives that we have deemed off limits to, God? Are we getting in the way of what God has planned for the lives of those around us by being a stumbling block, a hindrance, a distraction from their living, and serving God? Is our life a living example of a born again Child of, God, running joyfully into the light, or are we comfortable remaining in the shadows?
Are there times when our own family might be loving us even when we received it as hate?
Remember, a message of truth sounds like judgement or condemnation when we are in darkness, but it is revealed as the healing and renewal of conviction and repentance as we step into the light of His amazing grace.
God bless you friend, may you love and hate in His will, recognizing the true enemy, and standing firm and bold in His love.